It is no news now that parts of England are/were on fire.
This situation brings back memories to me:
In 1990, the Nigerian Military Government decided to accept a World Bank/ IMF loan. This loan came with the condition that the government implement Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs). These SAPs required Nigeria to do the following:
- Devalue the Naira against the Dollar;
- Lift import and export restrictions;
- Balance the budget and not overspend;
- and remove price controls and state subsidies
In a country with more accountability, this could have been bearable.
However, most students were incensed because we knew that corruption, economic mis-management and an absence of accountability had put Nigeria – Africa’s primary oil producer – in this position. The general feeling was that these austerity measures would mean - as always - ‘poor man go suffer but big man go chop big time’ (the poor would suffer, while the rich would continue to prosper)
University students all over Nigeria took to the streets to protest. Aged 19 and in my third year at Uniben, I was one of them. We felt anger towards a government that didn’t seem to care about us; that wasn’t paying our parent’s their salaries and pensions; that was doubling fuel prices and refusing to upgrade campus facilities.
Indeed, why should the government even care...when most of their children were schooling abroad.
I am proud to say that I was part of that Student Protest because that was my only way I could express myself – as a young student from an average, struggling home...who was growing up under a military regime. However, I never looted because my upbringing would not let me – deep down I was a ‘well-brought-up girl’.
Unfortunately, what started as a peaceful student protest degenerated into looting and stealing. Unfortunately, others who were not so ‘well-brought up’ destroyed and looted. Just like in the London riots.
Lives were lost, people were injured, looters destroyed businesses and a lot of students were suspended/ expelled.
I do not endorse or support what is going on in London at the moment BUT like my father always said ‘If two friends never quarrel, one is cheating the other’. Yes, the protests have gotten out of control, but I believe they are a manifestation of underlying issues.
In a year where the UK has seen numerous people lose their jobs; families lose their homes due to missed mortgage payments; children suffer in homes where finances have dwindled to nothing; small businesses close because banks have cut off their overdraft; youth and community centres shut due to austerity measures...........................We have also seen two Royal weddings; Banks post substantial profits and the decision to treble university fees from 2012.
Rioters are always likely to hijack peaceful protest AND Some people are always intent on committing crime.
Unfortunately, time and time again, governments ignore the gentle voices of protesters until their voices are taken over by the roar of the rabble.
All this might have been avoided if the Police had been more diplomatic in the way they handled the family of the man who was shot. Who knows.............
Unemployment;........ Racial tensions;....... Bad Parenting;........ Social Inequality;......... Bad Policing;.............whatever fuelled this, I only hope that the underlying issues are not ignored. If they are, history tells us they will come back to haunt us.
The brave lady in the video below made a passionate speech in the midst of looters...I believe she speaks for most Black mothers: